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Terri Woods Starman and Shane Abbitt

The objective was to distinguish between cultivars and evaluate genetic relatedness of poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) using two methods of DNA fingerprinting—DNA Amplification Fingerprinting (DAF) and Arbitrary Signatures from Amplification Profiles (ASAP). Eleven red poinsettia cultivars were studied, including `Celebrate 2', `Darlyne', `Freedom Red', `Lilo', `Nutcracker Red', `Peterstar Red', `Petoy', `Red Sails', `Supjibi', `V-14 Glory', and `V-17 Angelika'. Amplification was with 10 octamer primers. Gels were visually scored for presence or absence of bands. The 10 primers generated 336 bands. The average number of bands (≈1000 bp) per primer was 34 ranging from 19 to 43. Thirty-one percent of bands were polymorphic and distinguished between each cultivar. The number of unique profiles varied from two to nine. Genetic relationships were evaluated by SAHN cluster analysis based on the distance estimator of Jaccard using the NTSYS-pc program (Numerical taxonomy and multivariate analysis system, version 1.8). The resulting dendrogram closely agreed with known pedigree data. ASAP analysis was used to further assess cultivar identification of two cultivars that were genetically and morphologically similar. Markers were found that separated `Nutcracker Red' and `Peterstar Red'. ASAP analysis separated cultivars within the Freedom series that DAF failed to distinguish. Two cultivars in the Freedom series, `Jingle Bells' and `Marble', were characterized from other cultivars in the series with ASAP.

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Teresa A. Cerny and Terri W. Starman

Our overall objective was to use DNA Amplification Fingerprinting (DAF) to determine the relationships between Petunia × hybrida and four wild petunia species,P. axillaris, P. inflata, P. parodii, and P. violacea. This research was to optimize the DAF amplification reaction for petunias, check for variability in the fingerprints among different seedlings of the same species and screen primers to be used for Identifying polymorphisms between cultivars of P. × hybrida end the four wild species. Optimization of the DAF procedure was accomplished by varying concentrations of DNA template (O - 10 ng), MgCl2(0 - 10 mM), and primers (0 - 30 μM). Optimum concentrations were found to be 1.0 ng DNA template and 2.0 mM MgCl2. Clearly resolved banding patterns were produced using primer concentrations from 3.0 μM to 30 μM. When separate seedlings of each wild species from the same seed source were fingerprinted, profiles were consistent. Seeds from other sources are presently being collected to investigate variation between sources. Twenty-five heptamer and octomer primers varying in GC content were screened and ten produced clear banding patterns for the Petunia species. These primers have produced polymorphic profiles between the pink-flowering species and the white-flowering species. Several primers have shown distinct polymorphisms between P. axillaris and P. parodii, the two white-flowering species, which have very similar morphological traits. Similarities in the banding patterns have been found between P. × hybrida and these wild species.

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Terri Woods Starman and James E. Faust

The objective was to provide options for hanging basket production schedules by varying the number of plants per pot (one to four) and the number of manual pinches per basket (zero to two). Several species were evaluated in Spring 1995 and heat tolerance was assessed throughout the summer. Plugs (82 plugs per flat) were transplanted into 25-cm hanging baskets in a 22/18°C (venting/night temperature set points) glasshouse. Bacopa speciosa `Snowflake', Brachycome iberidifolia `Crystal Falls', Helichrysum bracteatum `Golden Beauty', Scaevola aemula `New Blue Wonder', and Streptocarpella hybrid `Concord Blue' produced quality baskets with three or more plugs per basket and no pinch. Pentas lanceolata `Starburst' and Lysimachia procumbens (Golden Globes) produced quality baskets with fewer than three plants per basket if plants received at least one pinch, however length of growing time was increased. Pentas lanceolata `Starburst', Scaevola aemula `New Blue Wonder', and Streptocarpella hybrid `Concord Blue' proved to be heat tolerant, blooming throughout the summer. Bacopa speciosa `Snowflake', Brachycome iberidifolia `Crystal Falls', and Lysimachia procumbens (Golden Globes) were not heat tolerant, i.e., ceased developing flowers in June and resumed flowering in September. Bidens ferulifolium did not produce an acceptable quality hanging basket under any experimental treatments.

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Terri W. Starman and Susan L. Hamilton

Many new vegetative annuals are available in the floriculture market today. Their growth habits may be trailing or vigorous and more conducive to hanging basket or container garden culture. Today's gardeners are living busy lives and housing is sometimes confined, with little land on which to garden. These factors all contribute to the popularity of hanging baskets and container gardens. Whereas container garden trials are more common in industry, few universities have added container gardens and hanging baskets to their trial gardens. The objective of the hanging basket and container garden trials at Univ. of Tennessee (UT) initiated in Summer 1999 was to demonstrate and promote this timely trend to commercial growers, landscapers, and the public. An attractive brick walkway and wooden arbor were built by a UT landscape construction class to display the containers and hanging baskets. Several challenges had to be met: funding the purchase of expensive containers; planting and placing the heavy containers in the garden; combining plants within the containers; grouping containers together; labeling plants within the containers; displaying the hanging baskets; maintenance and pruning; and most of all, keeping the containers watered throughout the summer. The color wheel proved to be a useful tool for grouping plants and containers. A handout was developed to guide visitors through the container garden. Despite the challenges, the container garden and hanging basket trials proved to be a successful demonstration and were popular among visitors.

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Terri Woods Starman and P.T. Gibson

The effectiveness of uniconazole for height control of Hypoestes (Hypoestes phyllostachya Bak. `Pink Splash') was determined, and the persistence of uniconazole with chlormequat and daminozide for limiting stem elongation in a low-light interior environment was compared. Spray and drench applications of uniconazole decreased plant height linearly with increased concentration. Two uniconazole sprays at 5.0 mg·liter -1, 0.05 mg a.i./pot uniconazole drench, or two chlormequat sprays at 2500 mg·liter-1 resulted in equally aesthetic plant size for 0.4-liter pots. Chlormequat was more effective than uniconazole for reducing rate of growth in the postharvest environment. No difference in postproduction rate of growth occurred between two sprays at 5.0 mg·liter-1 and 0.05 or 0.10 mg a.i./pot drench treatments of uniconazole. Chemical names used: 2-chloro -N,N,N- trimethylethanaminium chloride (chlormequat chloride); butanedioic acid mono(2,2-dimethylhydrazide) (daminozide); (E)-(S) -1-(4-chlorophenyl)-4,4-dimethyl-2-(1,2,4-triazol-1-yl)-pent-l1ene-3-ol (uniconazole).

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Teresa A. Cerny and Terri W. Starman

Seed of five species of petunia and 10 cultivars of Petunia xhybrida were obtained from several sources and plants were fingerprinted using DNA amplification fingerprinting (DAF). Within some species, variable fingerprints were generated between individual plants from the same seed source and/or different sources. Consistencies were found among DAF profiles by bulking the leaf tissue from 10 different plants, but not five plants. Each of 10 octamer primers used during the study revealed polymorphic loci between the species and cultivars. Among the 201 bands produced, 146 (73%) loci were polymorphic and these could be used to distinguish between each of the species and cultivars. Scoring for presence and absence of the amplified bands was used to generate a phylogenetic tree and to calculate the pairwise distances between each of the taxa using parsimony (PAUP) analysis. The tree generated using DAF molecular markers separated P. axillaris from P. parodii (two white-flowered species), and distinguished between the violet-flowered species, P, inflata, P. integrifolia, and P. violacea.

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Terri W. Starman and James E. Faust

Our objective was to determine the effect of planting date and pinching on flowering dates and plant size of field-grown garden mums. Experiments were conducted in the field during two consecutive growing seasons in 1997 and 1998. In one experiment, 15 to 20 cultivars were planted on five dates (14 May, 4 June, 25 June, 16 July, and 4 Aug.) and received no pinching, one manual pinch 2 weeks after potting, or two manual pinches 2 and 4 weeks after potting. In another experiment, four cultivars were planted at the five dates. Pinch treatments were control, one manual pinch, two manual pinches, one Florel spray at 500 mg·L–1, or two Florel sprays at the same time as the manual pinches but on separate plants. Data were collected for days to first color, first open flower, 10 open flowers, and full bloom. Height and width were measured at 10 open blooms. Although the 1998 season was warmer and caused heat delay, the flowering data followed the same trends as the 1997 experiments. Pinching delayed flowering for the early plant dates. Pinching did not affect plant height or plant width. Planting date affected days to 10 blooms for most early season varieties but not late-season varieties. Planting early produced larger plants and more uneven flowering and resulted in greater heat delay of heat-sensitive varieties. Florel delayed flowering and increased plant size. We concluded that pinching was not required to produce high-quality garden mums of many new cultivars.

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Shannon E. Beach* and Terri W. Starman

Diascia ×hybrida (diascia) is a cool season vegetative annual produced in 6 weeks in an 11.4-cm pot under greenhouse production. Early experiments noted that during simulated shipping in a growth chamber at 26.7 ± 0.3 °C, 0 μmol·m-2·s-1 PPF and 50% RH, diascia flowers abscised. To test the effect of 1-MCP on retention of flowers during shipping, three hundred diascia plants were grown under temperature set points of 24°/18 °C day/night in a glass greenhouse. Three harvests of 42 plants each were made as plants became marketable i.e., open flowers on six racemes. The treatments were factorial with three shipping durations (0, 1, or 2 days) and two 1-MCP (1-Methylcyclopropene, Ethylboc, Floralife, Waterboro, S.C.) treatments (0 mg·L-1 and the commercially recommended application rate) and seven plants per treatment. Plants were boxed and sealed under 4-mL clear plastic tarps with duct tape and then treated with 1-MCP gas or water for 4 hours before moving to the growth room (19 °C, 10 μmol·m-2·s-1 PPF) for 2 weeks. They remained in the boxes for the duration of simulated shipping treatments. Flower number, racemes with open flowers and a quality rating were given when removed from the shipping boxes. For plants in the first and second harvests, 1-MCP significantly reduced flower and raceme abscission 1 week after shipping regardless of shipping duration; this was not seen in the third harvest. Two weeks post shipment there was no difference in flower numbers between 1-MCP treated and untreated plants. With two exceptions, no differences among measured variables occurred due to shipping duration.

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Hope K. Onken and Terri W. Starman

Argyranthemum frutescens `Sugar Baby', Calibrachoa hybrid `Million Bells Cherry Pink', and Orthosiphon stamineus `Lavender' are three vegetatively propagated specialty annuals that are recent introductions into the floriculture industry. It is important to understand how the growth and development of these new crops is best controlled. Rooted cuttings of these three species where transplanted into 10-cm pots on 7 Oct. and the plant growth regulator treatments were applied on 19 Oct. 1999. Foliar spray treatments included ancymidol at 66 and 132, daminozide at 2500 and 5000, paclobutrazol at 20 and 40, ethephon at 500 and 1000, and uniconazole at 10 and 20 mg/L. Uniconazole medium drench treatment was applied at 1 and 2 mg/L. Control was a water foliar spray. At harvest, plant height, plant width, number of flowers, pedicle length, stem length, stem node number and internode length, and fresh and dry weights were measured. Uniconazole spray at 20 mg/L reduced plant height and width without affecting the fresh and dry weights of Argyranthemum. Flower number was increased and pedicel length was reduced. The overall plant height and width of Calibrachoa were not reduced with 20 mg /L uniconazole foliar spray, but plant form was improved by decreased internode elongation. Uniconazole foliar spray at 20 mg/L reduced Orthosiphon stem and internode length. Ethephon reduced plant height, plant width, and flower number of all species. Branching and days to flower were increased in Orthosiphon. In all species, daminozide and paclobutrazol were found to be ineffective, while ancymidol spray and uniconazole drench stunted and distorted growth.

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Yanjun Guo, Terri Starman, and Charles Hall

The objective was to determine the effect of substrate moisture content (SMC) during poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) greenhouse production on plant quality, postproduction longevity, and economic value. Two experiments were conducted, one in 2016 with ‘Freedom Red’ and the other in 2017 with ‘Christmas Eve Red’. Treatments included two SMC levels (20% or 40%) applied in four timing of application combinations. Total production (TP) time was 14 (2016) or 12 (2017) weeks in which vegetative production (VP) occurred from week 33 (2016) or 35 (2017) to week 39 and reproductive production (RP) continued from week 40 to 47. The four timing of application treatments were 40/40 = TP at 40% SMC; 20/40 = VP at 20% + RP at 40%; 40/20 = VP at 40% + RP at 20%; 20/20 = TP at 20% SMC. After simulated shipping in the dark, plants were evaluated in a simulated retail environment with two packaging treatments: no sleeve covering or plastic perforated plant sleeves covering container and plant. At the end of greenhouse production, plants grown in 20% SMC during RP (20/20 and 40/20) had shorter bract internode length, stem length, and smaller growth index (GI), decreased shoot and root dry weight (DW), and bract and leaf surface area compared with those in 40% SMC during RP (40/40 and 20/40). Photosynthetic rate was higher when plants were watered at 40% SMC regardless of production stage compared with those in 20% SMC. Leaf thickness, petiole thickness, total bract and leaf number were unaffected by SMC treatments. Plants in 20% SMC during RP (20/20 or 40/20) had earlier bract coloring despite days to anthesis being the same for all SMC treatments. Compared with 40/40, 40/20, and 20/20 could save 44.2% or 43.6%, respectively, irrigation and fertilizer usage, and 39.1% and 47.8%, respectively, labor time. During postharvest, ethylene concentration was unaffected by packaging method. Sleeved plants, regardless of SMC treatment, received lower light intensity in the middle of the plant canopy, causing plants to have lower total leaf number due to abscission and SPAD reading at the end of postproduction. The 40/40 treatment abscised more bracts during five weeks (in 2016) of postproduction and with no sleeve had higher number of bracts with bract edge burn (BEB). In summary, reducing SMC to 20% during TP or RP reduced water usage during production and produced more compact plants with increased postproduction quality.